Friday, January 11, 2008

"Objects Contain the Possibility of All Situations"

I know I keep touting the Stanley Hanks Chapbook Series, but it was really great while it lasted. Case in point: in 1995 they published The Kindling Point by H.L. Hix. It's a great chapbook, containing 32 poems. The title of each is a borrowed line from another text--sources include Plato, Wittgenstein, Chomsky--but the poems aren't coldly intellectual; instead, each uses the borrowed line as a jumping-off point. The borrowed lines are sometimes integrated into the text as well. Hix has a whole book of these (Perfect Hell), but this chapbook predates the longer collection and, to my taste, less is more.

One more thing: I looked up the St. Louis Poetry Center online, and the remaining chapbooks in this series are on sale (click here).

Here's a sample poem from The Kindling Point:

Objects Contain the Possibility of All Situations

I may kill. You should know this about me.
A razor in the night, without warning.
Objects contain the possibility
Of all situations. States of being
Embrace all imaginable events.
Any one life, or pair of lives, harbors
Every death. The succession of presents
Comprehends all foreseeable futures.
I have it in me to be a galaxy
Or one leaf on the frond of a fern.
I may become light in a sanctuary
Kindled by a rose window, or a cairn
Older than the woods it renders holy.
I may become water or earth. I may burn.

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